Speaking of Science

February 2013's selection of notable quotes

By | February 1, 2013


For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. . . . What happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.

—Environmental advocate Mark Lynas, publicly apologizing for his 2-decade-long anti-GMO stance in a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference (Jan. 3, 2013)


A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer.

—Physiologist and in vitro meat researcher Mark Post, quoted in “Inside the Meat Lab: The Future of Food” (The Guardian, Jan. 5, 2013)


Incubation lasted three days because this is how long the undergrad forgot the experiment in the fridge (dr leigh@dr_leigh)

We used jargon instead of plain English to prove that a decade of grad school and postdoc made us smart (Ethan Perlstein@eperlste)

—Two of the soul-bearing tweets posted in response to a request for scientists to divulge methodological unorthodoxies (Twitter hashtag #overlyhonestmethods, Jan. 7, 2012)


It’s clear to me that if you wiped all multicellular life-forms off the face of the earth, microbial life might shift a tiny bit. . . . If microbial life were to disappear, that would be it—instant death for the planet.

—Evolutionary microbiologist Carl Woese, who rewrote the tree of life with his discovery of archaea in 1977 and died on Dec. 30, 2012 (New York Times interview, Oct. 15, 1996)


I remain utterly convinced that posting images from publicly available documents, questioning their integrity when there is sufficient evidence to suggest a problem, is in no way grounds for a libel or defamation suit. In short—don’t shoot the messenger. If you didn’t want your scientific data to be questioned, you shouldn’t have published it!

Paul Brookes, an associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a self-identified owner of the now-defunct Science Fraud blog, in a post explaining why libel threats had led him to shut down the site (as reported on Retraction Watch, Jan. 3, 2013)


The societal return of biomedical research far exceeds the private return. It has been estimated that improved health care had as much impact on increased well-being during the past century as came from all growth in gross domestic product. And yet those expenditures that improved health care represented only a small part of the overall economy, and an even smaller part was devoted to biomedical research.

—Harvard economist and former Obama economics advisor Larry Summers, on why it makes economic sense for the US government to fund biomedical research (Proto interview, Fall 2012)

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 142

February 1, 2013

Post's quote is idiotic and sensationalistic.  He obviously doesn't understand the complete energy and material requirements needed to build a monster vehicle from scratch.  From the original article in which he was quoted, "The star of the Dutch research into in-vitro meat, Dr Mark Post, promised that the first artificial hamburger, made from 10bn lab-grown cells, would be ready for "flame-grilling by Heston Blumenthal" by the end of 2012."  I truly wonder if his "meat" is actually more cost and environmentally effective than the natural source. 

Avatar of: South Kensington

South Kensington

Posts: 1

August 30, 2013


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